Home Technology Tech News & Updates Is your child safe online? A research by Symantec

Is your child safe online? A research by Symantec

Are kids safe online

This is already expected. Children are now spent so much time online compared to a couple of years ago. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other social networking services pull us like there is no tomorrow. We (not just kids) spend online every day for hours. Symantec conducted a research and created a report that examines children’s behavioral change, how much time they normally spend online, and other scary findings.

Official press release here:

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 16 June 2010 – Kids around the globe are growing up in an online world, learning to navigate not just the Web, but new rules, emotions and unfortunately, some negative experiences.

  • Angry.  Upset.  Afraid. – Kids reported these feelings about negative online experiences.
  • More than half feel some personal responsibility for their negative online experiences.
  • Nearly seven in 10 say they would turn to their parents if something bad happened online.
  • But nearly half think they are more careful online than their parents.  Twenty percent (25 percent in Australia) actually say their parents have “no idea” what they are doing online.

The Norton Online Family Report, released today, is a good reminder for parents to plug in to their kids’ online lives, if they’re not already; especially with kids spending an average of 10 percent more time online per month than last year.  Over the past three years, Norton has examined the gaps between parents and kids with respect to their online beliefs and behaviours.  With this year’s report, Norton also looked at the emotional impact of online experiences on kids and their online codes of conduct.

Norton went straight to the source, surveying 2,800 kids and more than 7,000 adults in 14 countries about their online lives and experiences.  The resulting study, the Norton Online Family Report, was conducted by research company StrategyOne and examines kids’ actual online experiences compared with parents’ assumptions, with some surprising results.

According to NetFamilyNews.org Editor and ConnectSafely.org Co-Director Anne Collier, who collaborated with Norton on the study: “This report provides a rare glimpse into the online lives of young people in many countries, in their own words.  Not only does it send a clear message that the online safety and security issues around parenting are universal, it offers insights and information that can empower parents worldwide to help kids use the Internet safely and keep family communication about technology open and ongoing, the number-one Net-safety best practice at home, school, and everywhere.”

One Gap Closed

In 2008, Norton found that kids reported spending nearly 10 times as much time online as parents realised.  In 2009, the gap shrunk to kids reporting being online twice as much as parents realised.  This year, kids and parents are fully in sync about the amount of time kids spend online, closing one major gap.

Parents Aren’t Clued In

However, only 45 percent of parents (48 percent in Australia) realise their kids are having negative experiences.  While parents are generally aware of the activities kids participate in online, they underestimate the extent to which kids download music and videos, activities in which kids may be exposed to inappropriate content and encouraged to disclose personal details.

Kids’ Emotions

Kids are feeling the powerful emotional impact of negative online experiences.  Children are most likely to feel angry (39 percent globally, 47 percent in Australia), upset (36 percent globally, 56 percent in Australia), afraid (34 percent globally, 40 percent in Australia) and fearful/worried (34 percent globally, 37 percent in Australia) as a result of such an incident.  One-fifth of kids worldwide regret something they’ve done online.  Further, kids feel some personal responsibility for these negative experiences, especially downloading a virus or being scammed.

The Good News

Kids actually want more parental involvement in their online lives.  In addition to relying on their parents if something bad happened online, nearly nine in 10 report they follow family rules for Internet use.  In addition, most kids say they have online manners: nearly seven in 10 say they don’t bully and aren’t mean to others online (nearly eight in 10 in Australia), over six in 10 say they don’t harass or stalk others online, and nearly six in 10 refrain from passing on embarrassing photos or posts about others (over six in 10 in Australia).  More than half wouldn’t do or say anything online that they wouldn’t do or say off-line (60 percent in Australia).

New Tips for Parents

While kids are aware of many common sense rules for staying safe online, the old rules are not enough to keep up with the fast-changing online world.  In addition to talking to kids, keeping security software up to date and using tools specifically designed for kids’ safety, parents can improve kids’ online experiences with new tips that combine technology and communication.

  • Prepare your kids for good or bad experiences online – don’t wait until after something happens.
  • Highlight the importance of thinking before clicking and downloading.
  • To protect against malicious links on social networks, use a free tool such as the Norton Safe Web scanner application for Facebook, which uses site rating technology to scan members’ news feeds.
  • Use a search advisor to help identify if a website is safe versus unsafe.
  • Let your kids know that what happens to them online is a shared responsibility; children cannot take all of the responsibility for what happens to them online.

The award-winning Norton Online Family service can give parents insight into their kids’ lives online.  Launched worldwide today, Norton Online Family is now available free of charge in 25 languages.

View the full Norton Online Family Report here.

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